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Lea's Top 10 Aquarium Plants! 

Heros so. 'Rotkeil 

Inspiring Excellence in Fish Care! 

Maintaining a stable aquarium is one of the keys to ongoing success with marine aquariums. The 
Aqua One Arctic Chiller uses a titanium coil for efficient cooling, with a microprocessor driven digital 
control unit to make control easy and accurate! 

Features & Benefits: 

► Super refrigeration can decrease the 
water temperature rapidly by up to 
7-8°C . 

► The micro-computerised control 
system allows easy operation and 
accurate control. 

► The over current and overheat auto 
protection system make it safe and 

Arctic Chillers Technical Information 





L L _ 
























Aqua One products are widely available at most quality pet 
retailers. To find your nearest retailer, visit 

fish contents 

-to-read magazine 

for f ishkeepinq enthusiasts. 

At Redf ish we believe in the free exchange of inform^ 
r cilitate success by aquarium and pond hobbyists. Ec 
Redfish Magazine will bring you dedicated sections or 
coldwater, marine and ponds. 

Redfish was founded in e< 
Nicole Sawyer, Julian Corlet and David i 

P/urfo- courtesy: (mjvttj 

Off the Shelf 

Aqua One Wavemaker 

Aqua One's new Marine Wavemaker utilises low voltage DC pumps to create alternating wave patterns in the aquar- 
ium. These flow patterns replicate the natural water movement found on coral reefs. The supplied controller allows the 
switching time and the flow rate to be adjusted independently for each Wavemaker. 

Features & Benefits: 

• Adjustable switching time and flow rate 

• Replicate the aquarium inhabitants natural environment 

• Wavemaker models comes in 2 pumps or 4 pumps 

• Durable mounting bracket to keep pump in place 

• "Feed Mode" temporarily stops the pumps during feeding time 

Aqua One products are widely available at most quality 
pet retailers. 

To find your nearest retailer visit: 

Aqua One Pacific Coral Aragonite 

Aqua One Pacific Coral Aragonite is an 
ideal substrate for your aquarium. 

Aragonite maximises filtration capacity. 
The enormous surface area houses large 
quantities of beneficial bacterial nitrify- 
ing/denitrifying bacteria and millions of 
microbes. Buffering capability ensures a 
stable alkalinity and pH level at around 
8.2 in sea water and cichlid aquariums. 

Pacific Coral Aragonite quickly creates a 
natural biological balance which discour- 
ages the growth of nuisance algae. 

Aqua One products are widely available 
at most quality pet retailers. 

To find your nearest retailer visit: 

Off the shelf « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 5 

Off the Shelf 

New Era Foods 

for marine, tropical and coldwater f ish 

Over 20 years experience in ornamental aquaculture and wa- 
ter processing has enabled New Era to formulate a first for the 
aquarium industry - soft sinking pellets. 

With highly digestible and bio-available ingredients sourced from 
around the world (primarily human food grade), New Era prod- 
ucts create minimal waste resulting in significant improvements in 
water quality and greatly reducing pressure on filtration. All our 
diets promote good health, colour, vigour and as a result support 
the immune system. The results are being seen by thousands of 
home aquarists in 30 countries around the world and in over 100 
of the world's most important public aquariums. 

Addicted2Fish are official distributors for: 

New-Era Aquaculture products. 

Food for marine, tropical and coldwater fish. 

Read more at: 

Protomelas spilonotus - Photo Brian Gratwicke 

Off the shelf « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 6 


by Lea Maddocks 

From keeping a dump of moss for spawning through to a 
breath-taking contest-winning layout, successfully grow- 
ing plants in our aquariums can be both a useful and 
beautiful thing to augment our fish-keeping experience. 
Sadly, however, many hobbyists struggle to keep live 
plants. But like raising fish, raising plants can be simple 
to do if you start with the hardier varieties and under- 
stand their basic care requirements. Additionally, with a 
keen eye and some artistic flair, you can also create a 
stunninq aquascape with nothinq but basic plants when 

sic plants wnen 

they are arranged and planted to their best advantage 
around some well-placed hardscape. 

In this article, I'd like to share my Top Ten beginner plant 
as well as a few tips for using them to full advantage 
in an aquascape. Once you have mastered the basics, 
continuing to learn about keeping aquatic plants and 
building your skill set in creating lush aquascapes can be 
as addictive as learninq about raisinq more difficult fish. 

-Overview and basics 

betore we Peqin, lets reviev 

ot basics tor a 

successful simple planted tank. Firstly, it is recommended 
to have a fully cycled (nitrogen cycle) tank with Oppm 
ammonia and nitrite, nitrates under 40ppm. However, 
plants have an affinity for ammonia over nitrate (though 
they will use both as a nutrient source), so a good load 
of fast growing plants can actually help cycle your tank 
by removing some ammonia as well as seeding the tank 
with nitrifying bacteria present on the plant itself. As 
you can see, healthy plant growth will remove both 
ammonia and some nitrate, leaving your final nitrate 
level lower. It's also worth noting here that plants also 
absorb some metals and neutralise other nasties as well 

as increasing oxygen, so they are excellent tor aquarium 

Your pH should be between 6-8, though 6.5 - 7.5 
will usually yield better results. Temperature should be 
constant, and the usual tropical tank measuring between 

zz - zo l. will oe iqeai. uooc 

iq is crucial, anq y 

this is a complex topic, for our purposes we can keep it 
simple. Try to ensure you have a light which is strong 
in both the blue and red spectrums, with less green 
and yellow. Many manufacturers make bulbs rated for 

plants, and these work very well. If you can't find this 
info, choose a bulb with a colour temperature' measured 
in Kelvin (K) of over 5000K, and cool white'. Intensity is 
important too, and if you are using normal fluorescents 
(T8 or T5), the 1.5 - 2 watt per 4-5L (or 1 gal) rule tends 
to work well. To achieve this, multiple bulbs over larger or 
deeper tanks are a good idea. Compact fluorescents and 
LEDs are more efficient, so the watts per gallon rule fails 
here, but usually more intensity is better than less. For 
tanks 40L (about 10 gal) or less, they are usually shallow 
enough not to worry too greatly about intensity, and 
lights which are too bright may burn leaves, so stick with 
a normal bulb with the best plant colour you can find. 

Haraness is also an important tactor, anq comes in 
two types, general hardness (GH) and carbonate hard- 
ness (KH). Both are measured in either parts per mil- 
lion (ppm), or 'degrees' (dGH or dKH), which equate to 
17.9ppm for each degree. The first kind, GH, is a measure 
of total dissolved mineral salts. These elements, predomi- 
nately calcium and magnesium salts, are important trace 
elements for both fish and plants, and are vital for their 
internal to external water/salt balance (osmoregulation). 
Aim for a GH of 5 - 12dGH or ~50 - 215ppm depending 
on your chosen fish species. If your tap water has a low 
GH, you can raise it by adding aquarium salts which are 
specially formulated to contain calcium, magnesium and 
other trace elements. Never use regular salt (sodium 
chloride). The second type of hardness, KH, is a measure 
of dissolved carbonates, or carbonate alkalinity'. This is 
not to be confused with water being alkaline, which is the 
same as being basic, or having a pH over 7. Alkalinity 
is a measure of the 'buffering capacity' of water, being 
the waters ability to resist swings in pH and keep the pH 
stable. Good buffering is very important in a planted 
aquarium, as the daily cycles of plants photosynthesises 
and nightly respiration can cause swings in the pH, which 
can be stressful or even fatal to fish. Essentially this works 
by plants consuming dissolved C02, usually in the form of 
carbonic acid, during photosynthesis during the day and 
this can raise the pH (i.e., make it more basic). At night, 
this stops and plants respire (i.e., consume oxygen and 
produce C02) just like the other animals and bacteria in 
the aquarium. By doing this, more C02 and thus car- 
bonic acid is produced and thus the pH is lowered again. 

Freshwater « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 7 


y v 




i \ 


Lea Maddocks 

Lea Maddocks has been a long- 
time fish enthusiast, SCUBA diving 
since age 15. A biologist (BSc, Hons, 
MPhil), Lea has a fascination with 
aauarium science includina fish and 


row fflflQ 
roro SM^ ffiffi 





i in 

urown nere on the Dackwaii ot ti 
a flexible plant for the aquascape 

tively used when intertwined between other stem plants 

and around hardscape to create bushier-looking thickets 
without having to plant densely. This way, it can also 
turn a uniform stand of plants into something with more 
variety easily. Also, if planting a mix of species together, 
the roots of one species may have the capacity to out- 

to die away, langling in Tloaters among an estaulishec 
plant stand circumvents this nicely, and it is easy to pru 
or pull out if you wish. 

Freshwater « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 9 




' * 



m m 

copa is a remar 

lis 8. monnier 

lose condtion. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr. 


s for hiding internal filters and heaters, as well as 
mg odd bits of hardscape and filling gaps. They 
lake a striking impact in larger or taller tanks, 
lg the best hygro species for beginners are water 

Freshwater « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 10 


Freshwater « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 11 

L - 33 



Freshwater « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 12 

smaller tanks. Larger swords can also be kept in smaller 
tanks providing that old or large leaves are regularly 
pruned away by carefully snipping the stem away the 
base with dedicated stainless steel scissors, though selec 
ing the right species for your tank size is a much better 

„„..„+„ , , ,, ,,.«...^ .,,,_,__,„, _,., „ — nts out siesta 
may be needed during the day to keep C02 levels up), 
this plant should perform well in a low tech tank. Old 
leaves will occasionally turn brown at the edges, yellow 
and begin to melt away once new growth emerges, anc 
these should be pruned by gently pulled out or snipped 
away at the base to keep the plant neat and prevent th 

them to your advantage in an aquascape. With a little 
time and some artistic flair, anyone should be able to 
produce an aquatic garden and aquascape which will 
provide a stunning natural home for your fish, a wow' 
from onlookers, and you with endless hours of viewing 
pleasure - all for a little weekly maintenance and low-t( 

Now, get (aqua)gardening! 

Propagation can be done by removing adventitioi 
plantlets which emerge from runner from the larg< 

Freshwater « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 13 


Name: Heros sp. 'Rotkeil' 

Distribution: South America. Amazon basin 
near Iquitos, Peru. 

Maximum size: 20 cm (8"), though many in- 
dividuals slow growth markedly at around 15cm 

Temperament: Territorial 

Diet: Omnivore, like all "Severum" species, 
however, the species has a requirement for more 
plant matter in the diet. Zucchini, sushi nori and 
peas are all relished. 

Care: Minimum tank size of 200 litres (55 gal- 
lons). Feed with flakes and frozen foods, such 
as krill, brine shrimp and blood worms. Include 
many hiding places as well as open areas. Pairs 
can become very territorial, and will nip at and 
potentially kill any other fish which venture near. 
Usually a more peaceful cichlid, but can be ex- 
tremely aggressive towards conspecifics, espe- 
cially other males. 

Gender: Difficult to determine until fish reach 
maturity. Males have extended dorsal and anal 
fins, wheras females are more rounded. Venting 
is possible prior to the fish reaching maturity. To 
get a pair, it's advisable to raise 6-8 juveniles in 
the same aquarium. Watch for signs of territorial 
behaviour by a pair and remove the remaining 

the beautiful Redheaded Severum 

Locations in the Amazon near Iquitos in Peru host this 

species of Severum. 

Breeding: Redheaded Severums are typically substrate spawners, though they will sometimes 
spawn in overhangs, or on leaves. The most difficulty is in forming a pair. Once a pair has formed, 
spawning is not difficult to induce. Clear clean water is essential to get these fish to spawn and to 
enable the fry to hatch and thrive. Feed live or frozen whole foods, such as blood worms and small 
red worm to induce spawning. Females prefer to lay eggs on the outside of caves, or on any clean 
smooth surface area. Flat rocks, or the outside of clay pots work well for this. 

Notes: This is one of the more attractive severum species. Rotkeil literally means "Red Wedge" 
and refers to the bright red color over the shoulder, back, and cheek areas, as well as the face, 
anal, and dorsal fins. Their color is much more vibrant when the fish is comfortable in its environ- 
ment and is not stressed. Shares similar markings and temperament to the closely related Green 
Severum, which is typically also available in a xanthistic "gold" form. 

Freshwater « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 14 

Eye on Hawkfishes 

The Cirrhitidae are an exclusively tropical family of marine fish. They have a mostly Indo- 
Pacific distribution, though some species do occur in the Atlantic. Many dwell on reefs and 
are well represented in the aquarium hobby with many suitable reef-safe species. Reef safe 
is a bit of a strange term, and many species will eat small shrimps and prawns, so their mix- 
ing in your established reef should come with some caution. Those cautions aside, the rela- 
tively sedentary nature of Hawkfishes means the group adapt well to aquarium conditions. 

In total there are 12 genera in the family: Amblycirrhitus, Cirrhitichthys, Cirrhitops, Cirrhitus, 
Cristacirrhitus, Cyprinocirrhitcs, Isocirrhitus, Itycirrhitus, Ncocirrhites, Notocirrhitus, Oxy- 
cirrhitcs and Paracirrhites that together comprise around 30 species. The genera Cirrhitichthys, 
Neocirrhites, Oxycirrhitcs and Paracirrhites best most frequently represented in the hobby. 

In some ways, they look and act a bit like miniature scorpionfish and share some of scor- 
pionfish-like habits including perching immobile on corals and rock waiting for their 

prey (often shrimp) to come close. Hawkfish are protogynous hermaphrodites, subdomi- 
nant females will change into males if the male is removed or lost. The Longnose Hawk- 
fish {Oxycirrhitcs typus) aside, most species have not yet been successfully bred in captivity. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 15 

Longnose Hawkfish 

Oxycirrhites typus 


Found in the Red Sea and in the Indi- 
an Ocean, where it ranges from South 
Africa to the Hawaiian Islands, north 
to southern Japan and south to New 
Caledonia. In the Eastern Pacific they 
are found in the Gulf of California and 
to northern Colombia and the Galapa- 
gos Islands. 


Most commonly found below 30m. 
This species prefers steep outer reef 
slopes exposed to strong currents. It 
perches on gorgonians and black corals 
and is highly territorial. 


To 13 cm (5.1"). 


In the wild, this species feeds on small 
benthic or planktonic crustaceans. In 
the aquarium, the Longnose Hawkfish 
diet should include a variety of marine 
meats, frozen preparations, and live 
feeder shrimp. 

Aquarium Care: 

This species should ideally be kept 
in a tank no less than 115 litres (30 
gallons). Rocks and corals on which 
the hawkfish can perch itself should 
be provided. The water temperature 
should be 24-26° C / 75-79° F. 
Avoid other hawkfishes and combined 
with fish from other families. 

They are also the only Hawkfish re- 
ported to have spawned in captivity. 

Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus) 
Photo by Silke Baron 

Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus) 
Photo by Jenny Huang 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 16 

Flame Hawkfish 

Ncocirrhitcs armatus 


Found in the Pacific, ranging from 
the Japanese Ryukyu Islands to the 
Equatorial Islands and the Mangareva 
Island in French Polynesia. Their 
range proceeds southward down to 
the Great Barrier Reef of Australia 
and the Micronesian Wake islands. 


Typically found along surge-swept 

reef fronts and submarine terraces to 

a depth of 10 metres (33 feet). Hides 

among branches of live corals and 

retreats deep into the corals when 



To 9cm (3.5"). 


A carnivore species. Fond of small 
fish and most kind of invertebrates. 
In the aquarium will accept live, fro- 
zen and even dry food. 

Aquarium Care: 

Should ideally be kept in a tank no 
less than 75 litres (20 gallons). Re- 
quires well oxygenated water and 
constant water movement. Soluble 
waste should be kept to a minimum. 
Prefers reef aquariums and is gener- 
ally considered to be a difficult spe- 
cies to keep. 

Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus) 
Photo by Brian Gratwicke 

Flame Hawkfish (and other Hawkfish, like this Arc- 
Eye Hawkfish) are frequently associated with Stylo - 

phora and Pocillopora corals. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 17 



Coral Hawkfish 

Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus 


In the Indo -Pacific they are found 
in the Red Sea, ranging south to 
East London, South Africa, east to 
the Marquesan Islands, north to the 
Mariana Islands, and south to New 
Caledonia. IN the Eastern Pacific 
they are found in the Gulf of Califor- 
nia to Colombia and the Galapagos 



Found to depths of 40 metres (130 
feet), although most commonly 10- 
25 m. This species inhabits areas of 
coral growth and areas of clear water 
in lagoons, channels, or seaward re< 



In the wild, this species feeds on crus- 
taceans and small fishes. In the aquar- 
ium will eat meaty marine food eg: 
crustacean flesh, mysis shrimp and 
fresh/live and frozen preparations. 

Aquarium Care: 

Live in harems in nature with one 
male and 5-7 females, however, in the 
aquarium they should not be kept 
with others of their own species as 
can be quite aggressive. Avoid smaller 
and similar-sized fish also. Generally 
considered to be reef safe. The water 
temperature should be 23-26°C / 74- 

Coral Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) 
Photo by Brian Gratwicke 

a Coral Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) 
typically perched atop a coral awaiting small prey. 

Photo by Laszlo Ilyes. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 18 

Forster's Hawkfish 

Paracirrhites forsteri 

(Also known as Freckled Hawkfish or 

Blackside Hawkfish) 


In the Indo -Pacific they are found in the 
Red Sea and East Africa, to the Hawai- 
ian, Line, Marquesan and Ducie islands, 
ranging north to southern Japan and 
south to New Caledonia and the Austral 


Found to depths of 33 metres (108 feet) 
but known to venture a lot deeper. In- 
habits clear lagoon or seaward reefs and 
occurs openly on coral and soft-bottom 
habitats, occasionally in pairs Most often 
seen perching on outermost branches of 
Stylophora, Pocillopora, and Acropora 


Up to 22cm (8") 



In the wild feeds mainly on small fishes 
and crustaceans and sometimes on 
shrimps. In the aquarium the diet should 
include a variety of marine meats, frozen 
preparations, and live feeder shrimp. 

Aquarium care: 

A 250 litre (70 gallon) or larger aquar- 
ium is necessary for this fish. It hunts 
crustaceans and smaller fish, and it 
should be the last fish introduced to a 
semi- aggressive to aggressive commu- 
nity offish. It becomes very territorial 
and will harass new additions including 
other hawkfish and fish that are much 
larger than itself. 

Forster's Hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri) 

Forster's Hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri) 
Photo by Silke Baron 

Paracirrhites forsteri is quite variable in color. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 19 

the Stocky Hawkfish isn't a commonly kept aquarium 
species, though many indviduals are strikingly pat- 
terned. It is a large growing Hawkfish species that 

requires specialist housing. 

Stocky Hawkfish 

Cirrhitus pinnulatus 


Found in the Indo -Pacific in the 
Red Sea and ranging from East 
Africa to the Marquesan Islands and 
Mangareva, north to southern Japan 
and the Hawaiian Islands and south 
to the Kermadec and Rapa Islands. 
In the Southeast Atlantic it is found 
on the southeast coast of South 


Found in a depth range of l-23m, 
most often at l-3m. Inhabits reef 
fronts and rocky shorelines exposed 
to moderate to strong surges. 


Up to 30cm (11") 


Primarily feeds on crabs, and will 

also eat other crustaceans, small 

fishes, sea urchins or brittle stars. 

Will accept live and prepared foods, 

but will also make short work of Despke ks uncommon nature? the species adapts well 

most shrimps and small fishes. tQ aquarium life and can be rec0 mmended for reefs 

that don't include small fishes or mobile inverts. 

An uncommonly offered Hawkfish 

for the aquarium, the species is one of commerical fish for the table, and can be sometimes 

found in Hawaiian fish markets. 

Aquarium Care: 

This species will remain hidden much of the day, peering out from crevices. These fish can be 
kept with most other suitably sized tankmates in a community or reef aquarium. They will, 
however, prey on smaller tankmates and crustaceans like shrimp. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 20 

Arc-Eye Hawkfish 

Known variously as Paracirrhites ar- 
catus or Paracirrhites amblycephalus 
(Bleeker 1857) 


In the Indo -Pacific found from East 
Africa to the Hawaiian, Line and 
Mangareva islands, ranging north to 
southern Japan and south to Australia 
and Rapa. 


Found up to depths of 33m (108 

feet). Occurs in lagoons and seaward 

reefs, on heads of small branching 

corals, e.g. Stylophora, Pocillopora, 



Up to 20cm (7.9") 


This fish needs a carnivore diet and 
in the wild feeds mainly on shrimps, 
small fishes, crabs, and other crus- 
taceans. In the aquarium can be fed 
a variety of marine meats and live 
feeder shrimp. 

Aquarium Care: 

Tank should be at least 115 litres 
(30 gallons). Should be the last fish 
to enter the aquarium and do not 
combine with fish small enough to 
be considered food. It becomes very 
territorial, and will harass new ad- 
ditions to the tank including other 
hawkfish and larger fish. If placed in a 
reef aquarium, the Arc Eye Hawkfish 
will eat crabs, shrimp, anemones, and 
smaller fish. 




Some variants lack the write lateral stripe 

This individual has the white body stripe 

An Arc-eye Hawkfish perches on a coral, this indi- 
vidual has a more peach coloured body. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 21 

Dwarf Hawkfish 

Cirrhitichthys falco 


Ranges from the Maldives to Samoa, 
north to the Ryukyu Islands and 
south to the southern Great Barrier 
Reef and New Caledonia. 


an be found in a depth of 4-46m 
although most often at 10-20m 
Inhabites shallow coastal to outer ree 
flats and slopes. It is a common in- 
habitant of coral reefs, and can typi- 
cally be found resting at the bases of 
coral heads. 


Up to 7cm (2 ") 


In the wild feeds on very small fish 
and benthic invertebrates. In the 
aquarium the dwarf hawkfish will eat 
almost an aquarium food presented 
to it. They will do well on all kinds of 
live, frozen and flake foods. 

Aquarium care: 

This species is one of the least ag- 
gressive and territorial species of the 
Hawkfish family. As a result, the 
dwarf hawkfish will fit into a wider 
range of community aquariums. Pro- 
vide plenty of hiding spaces as can be 
chased an nipped at by larger species. 
Will even learn to take food directly 
from the aquarium keepers fingers. 
Keep in a tank that is at least 115 
litres (30 gallons) with a temperature 
of 23-27.5°C / 74-82°F. 

the Dwarf Hawkfish (C. falco) 
Photo by Brian Gratwicke 

At 7cm, the Dwarf Hawkfish is more amenable to 
more aquaria! Photo by Nicolaijohannesen 

a Dwarf Hawkfish rests atop a rock in the wile 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 22 


Cirrhitus rivulatus 


Found in the Eastern Central Pacific, 
from the Gulf of California to north- 
ern Colombia and the Galapagos 


Found at a depth range of 5 - 23 m. 
Lies very still on rock ledges and is 
well camouflaged against the rocks. 
Well know for it's social behaviour 
towards scuba divers. 


Largest of the hawkfish family, with a 

maximum size of 60 cm (24"). 


Feeds on crustaceans and small fishes. 
Should be fed a steady diet of meaty 
preparations and live fish. 

f this fish 


The size of this fish dictates its for 
specialists only. Like the Stock Haw- 
fish, it is sometimes eaten by humans. 

Aquarium Care: 

Should be kept in an aquarium of at 
least 450 litres (120 gallons) in size to 
provide plenty of swimming and liv- 
ing room for this fish. Giant Hawk- 
fish are aggressive and should not be 
kept with other more peaceful species 
as it may attack and harm them. 

the Giant Hawfish grows to an impressive 60cm (24") 

Unusually for a Hawkfish, C. rivulatus has a relatively 

restricted distribution, being found only in the Eastern 

Central Pacific south to Colombia. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 23 

Redspotted Hawkfish 

Amblycirrhitus pinos 


In the Western Atlantic this species 
is found from southern Florida and 
Texas (USA), to the Bahamas and 
throughout the Caribbean Sea to Rio 
de Janeiro, Brazil. 


Found at a depth of 2-46 m. Com- 
monly inhabits rocky areas, often 
found in crevices and shallow caves. 
Usually lies at rest on the substrate. 


To 9.5cm (3") 


In the wild feeds on small crusta- 
ceans, particularly copepods, shrimps 
and shrimp larvae, crabs and crab 
larvae as well as polychaetes. In the 
aquarium, diet should include a vari- 
ety of marine meats, frozen prepara- 
tions, and live feeder shrimp. 

Aquarium Care; 

The species is a relatively uncommon 
aquarium species - it is sometimes 
available from local collections near 
the USA. 

The aquarium to house the species 
should be at least 115 litres (30 gal- 
lons). This species is not known to be 
aggressive. Keep in a tank with lots of 
hiding spaces. Will usually not bother 
small sessile invertebrates but may eat 
small shrimps. 

At only 9.5cm, this is one of the smaller Hawkfishes, 

it's also relatively peaceful. It will, however, consume 

small motile inverts - so mix it with some caution. 

The species is found from Southern Texas and Florida, 
south through the Caribbean to Brazil. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 24 

Spotted Hawkfish 

Cirrhitichthys aprinus 


Found in the Western Indian Ocean 

in the Maldives and the Western 



Usually found at a depth of 12-20m 
but has been found as deep as 40m. A 
common species found in rocky and 
coral areas of subtidal coastal reefs 
and enters shallow harbors and estu- 


Up to 12.5cm (4") 


Diet should include a variety of ma- 
rine meats, frozen preparations, and 
live feeder shrimp. 


This species can be easily mistaken for 
C. oxycephalus. C. aprinus, however, 
lacks spots on the caudal fin and has a 
obvious spot on the operculum. 

Aquarium Care: 

Tank should be at least 115 litres 
(30 gallons). A hardy and aggressive 
fish. It should not be kept with larger 
more aggressive hawkfish. Although 
it eats small fish and shrimp, with 
caution, it can make an excellent reef 

the Spotted Hawkfish (C. aprinus) in the wild at Lem- 
beh straights, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. 
Photo by Jens Petersen 

The clear tail, and distinctive spot on the operculum 
assist in ID of this species. Photo by Jenny Huang. 

Perched amid macro algae, this Spotted Hawkfish 

waits for prey to swim past. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 25 




by Aaron Sewell 

The family Plesiopidae, more commonly known 
as roundheads or longfins, are not particularly 
common in the trade, outside a handful of species 
though they are excellent aquarium candidates. 

The family comprises of tropical, sub-tropical 
and temperate species which are distributed 
throughout the Indo-West Pacific, many of which 
are found in Australian waters, often exclusively. 
The family is divided into 12 genera consisting of 
a total of 49 species. Of these 49 species, only 
3 are common in the trade with a handful of 
others appearing on occasion. All plesiopids are 

carnivores, with small species feeding on zoo- 
plankton while larger species generally feed 
on benthic invertebrates such as small shrimp. 

There fish are often not difficult to breed with 
commercial success having been had with spe- 
cies in the genera Assessor and Colloplesiops. 
Hopefully this sees a greater abundance of these 
fish and a greater range available in the future. 


The genus Assessor, contains just 3 species, of 
which 2 are found in Australian waters and are 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 26 

common in the aquarium trade. The yellow asses- 
sor, Assessor flavissimus, and the blue assessor, A. 
macneilli, both reach around 6cm and are ideally 
kept in small groups but will generally fare well as 
individuals or pairs. They are naturally found near 
ledges and overhangs where they swim upside 
down far enough into open water to feed on 
zooplankton brought across the reef by currents. 
Usually, after a few days to a few weeks, the 
behaviour will change and the fish will no lon- 
ger swim upside down. Being very peaceful fish, 
they do well with other small tankmates such as 
gobies, dragonets and dartfishes. Assessors gen- 
erally take well to aquarium conditions and read- 
ily accept a variety of prepared foods such as 
frozen brine shrimp, flakes or granulated foods. 

Assessors are among the more simple to breed 
marine fish though very little has been done on 
the commercial side to allow captive bred speci- 
mens onto the Australian market. However that 
has begun the change in the US and hopefully 
it won't be long before the Australian market 
begins to see captive bred specimens avail- 
able. They are demersal spawners and mouth 
brooders with the males taking care of the eggs. 
Spawning in captivity is not uncommon and 
they produce small clutches of up to 25 eggs. 


The comet groupers of the genus Calloplesiops 
are very unique and interesting fish. The two 
species, Calloplesiops altivelis and the less com- 

Calloplesiops altivelis 
Photo by Lonnie Huffman 

mon C argus, get their common name (comet 
grouper of marine comet) from the shape and 
colouration of their body. They are predominant- 
ly black with a covering of white spots and an 
eyespot at the base of the 2nd dorsal fin which 
gives them the appearance of a comet shooting 
through the sky. The shape is an almost per- 
fect oval with the dorsal, caudal, anal and pel- 
vic fins fitting together to complete the shape. 

This unique colouration, pattern and finnage is a 
classic example ofBatesian mimicry which is where 
the animal mimics a more dangerous subject, in this 
case the white mouthed moray eel, Gymnothorax 
meleagris. The colouration appears as though it 
would allow the fish to hide in dark places when 
threatened but actually allows the fish to intimi- 
date potential threats by giving it the appear- 
ance of the moray eel lurking in a rocky crevice. 

Calloplesiops altivelis 
Photo by Ewen Roberts 

Whitemouth moray (Gymnothorax meleagris) 

Photo by David Burdick 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 27 

Comet groupers have an unusual hunting be- 
haviour which also relates to the colouration 
and patterning. The fish allows itself to drift in 
the current to get within range of its prey (usu- 
ally small shrimp) where it curls its body over 
the prey before striking back towards its own 
tail. It is believed the spots act to confuse and 
almost hypnotise the prey for just long enough 
for the fish to strike. In the aquarium, they will 
readily take a variety of foods including flakes, 
pellets and frozen foods. A diet high in protein, 
specifically meat content, is ideal. As far as gen- 
eral tolerance to aquarium conditions, these 
fish are exceptionally robust and tend to do 
well provided they are given sufficient space. 


The blue devils of the genus Poroplesiops are 
magnificent looking fish but unfortunately there 
are 2 drawbacks to keeping them. The first is 
that all but 1 species are temperate fish, being 

found around the southern coastlines of Austra- 
lia south of the NSW/QLD border on the east 
coast and Perth on the west coast with just 1 
species, Poroplesiops poweri, being found in the 
tropical waters of Queensland. Arguably the 
most spectacular of the 5 species is the east- 
ern blue devil, P. bleekeri, though unfortunately 
it is found only in NSW where it is a protected 
species and therefore unavailable for collection. 


" . .K J . J „- • . ' 

Western Blue Devil (Poroplesiops sindoiri) 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 28 

Though among the largest species in the family 
with the eastern blue devil and southern blue devil, 
P. meleagris, reaching around 35-40cm,the small- 
est species in the genus, the northern blue devil, 
P. poweri, reaches just 8-9cm. However, despite 
being an ideal species to be kept in a reef aquar- 
ium, these fish are almost unseen in the trade. 


Species in the genus Plesiops are generally small 
fish, commonly reaching sizes of around 7-15cm 
with few exceptions. With a greater range than 
other genera, with species being found from the 
East coast of Africa and the Red Sea to the Cen- 
tral Pacific, it is somewhat surprising that they 
are so uncommon in the trade. These fish, like 
many plesiopids, are secretive rock dwellers which 
means that in large aquariums they can disap- 
pear for days at a time, lurking in rock crevices. 

Despite being exposed to a huge range of ma- 
rine species over the past dozen or so years, I 
have personally only seen a single fish from this 
genus on offer. This was a small crimson tip 
longfin, Plesiops coeruleolineatus, which took 
exceptionally well to aquarium life, taking fro- 
zen and pellet food within 24 hours. However, 
after settling into the aquarium, the fish was 
almost never seen. Given the reclusive nature 
of these fish, they are best kept in small, dim- 
ly lit aquariums with open rockwork where 
they can feel secure but not hide completely. 


The genus Trachinops, known as hulafish, con- 
tains just four species which are all endemic to 
Australia and are all temperate though the 
eastern hulafish, Trachinops taeniatus, is oc- 
casionally kept in tropical marine aquariums. 

The remaining three species are found in the 
waters of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia 
and southern Western Australia making them 
incompatible with the temperatures of tropi- 
cal marine aquariums. These fish are however, 
ideally suited to small temperate aquariums. 
Like most longfins, hulafish take well to captiv- 


Aaron Sewell 

In 2004 Aaron completed a BSc 
(Marine Science) at the Uni- 
versity of Sydney with majors 
in marine biology and tropical 
marine science. Since 2001 he has 
been involved with the aquarium 
industry at hobbyist and retail level and now works 
in aquarium product development. Aaron is a former 
committee member of the Marine Aquarium Society 
of Sydney and has collected fish and corals in Fiji for 
the US and European aquarium industries. Aaron 

has been writing tor severe 
aquarium maqazines since 

xal ana int 

ity, readily taking a wide variety of prepared 
foods and cope well with captive conditions. 

These fish are generally small, with 2 species reach- 
ing 15cm and the other two reaching 8-10cm but 
with a body shape that more closely resembles a 
wormfish (Microdesmidoe) or dartfish (Pterele- 
otridoe). They fare well in small groups but only 
in large aquariums due to heirachical aggression. 


While the majority of longfins are either seldom 
seen in the aquarium trade or are not suitable 
for tropical marine aquariums, those that are en- 
countered make for perfect aquarium inhabitants. 

On the whole, these fish are exceptionally peaceful 
and do not require particularly large aquaria dueto 
their behaviour which sees them lingering around 
rocky crevices, overhangs or caves. Despite their 
often large mouths (specifically in the larger spe- 
cies), these fish pose little to no threat to other fish 
though care should be taken when mixing these 
fish with ornamental crustaceans such as shrimp. 

Marine « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 29 

First Time at Sea 

a. r&ef keeping \oarhal 



IV 5 months into my Qeefkeeping and so far, its been a fantastic experience that's easier 
than its reputation wight surest 1 think my success is largely Me to my avoidance of diffi- 
cult corals and a moderate dose of patience (1 only have four fish in the 350L tank at present). 
Tm stilt s<9(*A£ti(M,£s taken by the urge to add more brightly coloured fish that 1 see at the local 
aquariums - but to date I've largely resisted the urge. The fourth and fifth months of Qeefo 
keeping in my case uoere characterised by a resurgence in green hair algae, presumably associ- 
ated voith a rise in nitrate in the aquarium voater. 

This makes logical sense as ammonia and nitrite have been reading zero for at least twelve 
uoeeks nouo - and the nitrogenous uoaste has to end up somewhere. Obviously, I'd like it to 
end up as nitrogen gas — but the microbes that facilitate nitrification are pretty slovo growing 
and take time to build up to a reasonable number The result is that uohile the voorst excess 
of instability are in the past the tank stilt undergoes miniature "cycling events" vohen too much 
nitrogen becomes available. This came to a bit of head around a month ago (the four month 
mark) and many of the live rocks had soft filamentous green or brovon algae growing upon 
their surfaces. Gadly, and perhaps a 
tittU unexpectedly, the Trochus snails in 
the tank didn't seem interested in this 
longer filamentous algae, and spent 
more time on the glass than anywhere 

To attempt to remedy this, 1 consulted 
voith my local fish store voho suggested 
1 should add a Kole Tang (Oteno- 
ckaetiAS s-trigosus) — see the photo of 
my specimen right. TOithin 3 days - the 
algae voas gone[ Unfortunately the 
species doesn't seem interested in the 

An algae eating machine. The Kole Tang is 

a most impressive fish in its own right. 

Whilst not blinding bright, it T s subtle 

dot and stripe patterning, yellow eye-ring 

and orange fins are, when you take the 

time to look, very beautiful. 

Blog « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 30 

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July 2012 - with filamentous algae 

small pieces of Caulerpa that persist 
on the rocks, but you. cant have ev- 
erything There seems to he a hit of 
debate about hovo to pronounce the 
common name of the species - at 
least in the reading Tve done - some 
people say "coal-ee" others say "coal? 
in Australia, those people Tve heard 
say it use "Coal. There's also lot of 
discussion on the voeb about the spe- 
cies being the King's fish in Hawaii 
and it being illegal (a kapu) to eat. 
Scholarly articles, seem to have t<^ss 
to say - so Td love to knouo whether 
there voas more to this suggestioni 
Regardless, the species at least in 
my estimation is a great tang uohich 
is smaller growing and less prone to 
disease than some of its cousinsi 

In terms of sheer impressive speed of 
grouoth 1 think my pulsating X-enia 
should voin some kind of prize. &ack 
in July it £6>nsisWjast of tirfo main 
stalks (see the photos on the ne^t 
page). The second of these greuo up 
onto - and attacked itself to - an- 
other piece of live rock, before de- 
tacking itself from the main colony. 
The result is th^t scarcely 12 u^eeks 
after its purchase, this coral has at 

least doubled in size. 1 should also report that the the red mushrooms 1 discussed back in July, 
did something quite odd soon after being added to the tank. In th# top picture belovo you can 
see they're open (in July) on a piece of live rock in the centre of the aquarium. T(\any of the polyps 
detached from this piece of rock and fell douon to louoer sections of the aquarium (uohere they are 
nouo doing uoellO 1 voasn't sure whether they uoere in a position that voas too bright, or perhaps they 
uoerejust poorly attached. Regardless of the cause, 1 took the opportunity to also move the green 

late September 2012 - without filamentous algae. 
The removal of the filamentous algae has caused 
the coraline algae to thrive I 'SB: Xenia growthl 

Blog « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 32 

the tank as it looked back in July 2012... 

and how the tank looks today in late September. The good folks at Cairns Marine 

provided some really beautiful leathers, palm-tree corals (top back), Green 

star polyps and really bright green zoanthids (front). I bought some Fluff ies 

(Rhodaetis spp., front-left), Duncanopsammia (left top) and Green Euphyllia in 

a moment of weakness. The work of the Kole Tang (nobly assisted by my mainly 

Trochus-based snail crew) is very obvious in the reduction in algae. Over the 

course of the -12 weeks between these photos the Zenia has almost doubled in 

size - and is represented in the lower photo in two pieces (both in the centre) 

as it grew across two rocks and broke itself in half. 

Blog « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 33 

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miAskrooms louo&r in tke aqiAar- 
iwi/i. At this position voitk less 
light tkey seem to open voider 
and look "kappier". 

Post July, 1 encountered an 
increasing number of sea ixr- 
chins on tke live rock. 1 suspect 
many uoere hiding in tke rock 
and perkaps during cycling 
yoere less active (du.e to be- 
ing negatively impacted by tke 
nitrogenous voaste cycled during 
this process). 1 don't Wave any 
evidence for this supposition, 
it' based on tke fact that 
1 kadn't observed tkem previ- 
ously — tkey seem unlikely to 
be breeding^ — and tkere uoas 
qixite a lot of urchins. 

1 realise one or tuoo urchins 
yoont be a problem in tke tank 
- biAt 1 kad qiAite a lot of \ax- 
ckins in tke main tank and 
decided tkat perkaps tkere voas 
jiASt too many to safely keep 
in tke display. Vd read tkat 
tkey can strip a lot of tke coral- 
[me algae from rocks and even 
botker some corals. Go, after a 
bit of deliberation 1 decided 1 
yoouXd move most of tkese to 
tke stAmp - to tke point vokere 
novo 1 think th#ir population 
tkere numbers 20 or so. Tkere's 
only tvoo species represented: 

Three detailed photos from the aquarium. Duncanopsam- 
mia (top), Euphyllia (centre) and Fluffies (bottom) . 

Blog « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 35 

the first 1 think is the Decorator Urchin 
flripnMste>s spp) uohiie the second is the 
Qockr3orinQ Urchin (£ckinom#tra spp). 

In the samp tk^V& stripped almost all 
the alQae from the voalls and the rocks. 
There's some native GaiAerpa in there too, 
thoiAQh like the Kole Tang, these lArcluns 
don't seem that interested in eatnQ it. 1 
had hoped in the s\xmp to create a (?it of 
a refiA^ia, so in time Tm QoinQ to have to 
Qet rid of mij considerable cohort of u.r- 
chinsi If anyone has a loixrninQ interest in 
urchins [et me knoiti 1 have 20 to sparei 

7U#t month Til he QivinQ a kit of a run 
dovon on feeding, voill cover the nevo ad- 
ditions to the tank - and the fate of my 
urchin colonvf 4* 


David Midgley 

When he's not editing Redfish Magazine, David 
Midgley is a scientist who has a PhD in Microbial 

>loqy and wo 

>bes in the subsur- 

. He lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, kid: 
. and now - Reef Aquarium. 


{ 1 

Two types of urchins occurred on the live 
rock. The fuzzy- type, which I think are 
Decorator Urchins (Tripneustes) while the 
second are Rock Boring Urchins (Echi- 
nometra) . 

Some Sea Urchins are venomous - so take 
more care than I did - and don T t use your 

Blog « Redfish Magazine 2012:15 » 36 



photo by Khantipol 


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